GET CONNECTED Parents’ The Parents Guide to Internet Safety Contents Page Section One: Introduction About the Authors 4-5 The Internet: A Short History Lesson 6-7 Section Two: Keeping your Internet Access Secure Viruses 10-14 Phishing 15-16 Section Three: Online Communication Social Networking 18-23 Instant Messengers 24-25 Online Games 26 Website Builders 27-28 Video Sharing 29 Safe Surfing 30-38 Cyber Bullying 39-40 Talking to your Children about Internet Safety 41-44 Section One Introduction About the Authors This guidebook has been written by a group of seventeen year olds who have set up their own company, Zyxt. Our mission is to inform worried parents about the dangers of the internet and provide information on how to minimise the potential risks involved. As today's young people, we are the first generation to grow up with the Internet as a routine part of our lives. Most teenagers have taken to the technology with ease, and in many cases are ahead of adults in their computer knowledge. This knowledge gap can be intimidating for parents, who have to scramble to keep up. But that doesn't mean that adults are irrelevant in this new online world. In fact, your involvement is crucial, because we still need your help! For many parents, unless it is Microsoft Word or Excel, computers can be very confusing and quite scary, and in some cases parents are worried about what their child is doing whilst on the internet, merely because they don’t understand it themselves. We are going to try and bridge the information gap and give you all you need to know to understand that computers and the internet can be safe and harmless. We have written a book which we hope you will fund both original and informative. We want to work to change the negativity surrounding the use of the internet by young people, show you that we do realise that not everything on it is trustworthy and explain how the internet can be fun and educational providing the potential risks involved are minimised. Whether your children are experienced computer users or are just getting started, they need your involvement, your experience, and your judgment. This book is designed to provide you with basic information about what young people are doing on the internet and how to make sure they are safe. From bullying to viruses and everything in between! Thank you, the directors of Zyxt. The Internet A Short History Lesson The Internet began in the 1960s as a U.S. Department of Defence communication network. Soon after, university researchers and professors began to use it to communicate with others in their fields. Internet use really took off in the early 1990s with the arrival of the Web, which made it easier to find and view information online. Today, millions of people throughout the world are connected to the Internet. No person, country, organisation or company is in charge of the Internet. It is growing and being changed by its users every day. Today it is estimated that in the UK alone 4.8 million children use or have used the Internet. Out of this huge amount, 65% are 7-16 year olds and one million are under 14. Children are most familiar with online communication with family and friends, along with virtual friends, using email and online chat. Surprisingly, 23% of children in the UK are also familiar with online chat rooms among well known companies such as Yahoo or MSN, which is, in fact, much safer as these companies have the power to get involved if their services are ill-treated. For children, the internet today is seen as cool and trendy. One of the main attractions for younger people is online chatting which gives them a chance to talk to existing friends and make new ones. The most appealing aspect of the internet is of course, websites. Absolutely anyone can create a website and put them on the internet, so naturally there is a huge selection of different sites available. The most popular websites amongst young people seem to be online games which can allow users to chat to others through different characters they have created on the site, social networking sites which require creating a profile that would normally include a picture and instant messaging. The specific website will, of course, become more or less popular over time but they will all work on the same principles and so are all very similar to the ones we will explain to you in this book. Section Two Keeping your Internet Access Secure Viruses A computer virus is a code that is secretly introduced onto your computer system. The purpose of these viruses is to corrupt or destroy data held on your system. Often these viruses are hidden in programs or documents on your computer and when the program or document is opened the virus is let loose. Contrary to popular belief, there is more than one type of virus and they all do different things to your computer. You don’t need to know every type of virus, but we have compiled a little glossary to give you a brief idea. Macro Viruses Macro viruses use commands (macros) embedded in other software to contaminate and spread to other files viewed by other software. For example Word and Excel have macros and these viruses can spread by using commands on these programs. Worms Worms can multiply and use communications facilities such as email to spread. They can see into your email address book and send themselves to names that are found in it. File Viruses File viruses are able to attach themselves to other software. When the software is open and running, the virus loads itself into the memory so that it can then infect other files or begin to damage the computer. Trojan Horses Trojan Horses are programs that claim to perform or complete certain tasks but do the total opposite. For example they could infect your computer with a virus or erase your files. Backdoor Trojans Backdoor Trojans are programs that allow other computer users to remotely control your computer via a local area network or from the Internet. Viruses Boot Sector Viruses Boot Sector Viruses are an older type of virus and are not so common anymore. They used to infect a computer's start-up program this would mean that when the computer is stared the virus would also start. Adware Adware can profile your surfing and shopping online habits and or place annoying little pop-up adverts and install additional menu helper bars. Often Adware works around the advertising based upon the web sites you use frequent. It is most likely that you will not be aware of the fact that these pop-us are not coming from the website you are viewing but from the Adware software running locally on your machine. Spyware Spyware is potentially a higher threat than Adware. It is software that does things such as advertising, collecting personal details, or changing the configuration of your computer. It does all this without obtaining your consent first. Page Hijackers Page Hijackers are applications that redirect links to specific web pages. Whilst not as high a threat as spyware, it is often a sign that your computer has some spyware or adware mechanism installed on it which will weaken its operation. How can I protect myself against viruses? Anti- Anti- spyware program This is a program that protects your PC against spyware and helps to keep your computer and personal details secure. Anti- Anti- virus software This is software that is designed to detect viruses and prevent them from infecting your machine, often the viruses are transmitted via email. You can buy anti-virus software from computer and most electrical retailers, but you can also download anti-virus software directly from the Web. anti- How do I configure my anti-virus protection software? Not all damage to your programs and files is caused by viruses. Worn out floppies, failing hard drives, user error and poorly written programs can all cause you to loose data. If your computer is behaving strangely or if you think your computer has a virus, use an anti-virus program to find out. If your computer is infected with a virus, DON'T PANIC! Use an anti-virus program to remove the virus yourself, or turn your computer off and find someone who knows how to remove the virus. There are a large variety of websites that offer help and advice about what to do if you do discover a virus. If a virus is active in memory, it may prevent anti-virus programs from working correctly. To be sure no virus is active, turn off your computer and reboot before you begin the disinfection process. Eliminate all copies of the virus as quickly as possible. Check all your disks, and warn anyone else who may have infected files or disks. Remember, most viruses can be removed without permanent damage to your system and most virus infections can be prevented. There are also programs you can download that check websites for viruses, spam, spyware and online scams. These are known as site advisors. They use a traffic light system when showing search results. Sites with viruses or spam, for example, will appear with a red cross next to them whilst safe sites will have a green tick. These programs can be downloaded straight from the internet (we recommend McAfee). With proper care, your computer can remain virus- free. Phishing What is phishing? Phishing occurs when criminals (phishers) pretend to be legitimate organisations, like banks and credit card companies in order to trick you into giving them personal details such as bank account numbers or PIN numbers. Phishers usually send you an email in which they ask you to verify or resubmit personal information by return. They could ask you to complete an online form and may offer you something attractive like money or a holiday if you do so. Be alert for anyone requesting your bank account details, credit card numbers, passwords, PIN numbers or National Insurance number. Phishers can use this information to impersonate you and make unauthorised withdrawals from your bank account or use it to pay for online purchases. They can even sell on this valuable information to third parties. I’ve How will I know if I ve been phished? Trust your instincts. If an email looks suspicious, delete it immediately or if it offers something that looks too good to be true chances are it probably is. phrases Here are some phrases to look out for: “Verify your account Verify account” “Respond within 48 hours or your account will be closed” Respond closed “Click the link below to access your account Click account” “Dear valued customer Dear customer” How can I avoid phishing fraud? Never give out personal details by email, fax or in response to a pop up advertisement or unexpected website address. Always check your credit card and bank statements for any irregularities. Use up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software to keep unwanted or malicious software at bay. A phishing filter can help protect you from web fraud by warning or blocking you from reported phishing websites. Section Three Online Communications Social Networking What is social networking? Social networking websites help create and support communities of internet users. Most people assume social Facebook networking to mean MySpace and Facebook, but it actually includes sites such as Friends Reunited, one you may Bebo, already be familiar with. Sites like Bebo Facebook and MySpace attract thousands of internet users from all age groups and allow members to communicate with friends and, if they choose, strangers online. Depending on the website in question, members share a variety of interests and hobbies and they can use the site to chat, message, email, upload and download photos and videos, blog, discuss and share information. How does it work? In general, social networking services such as MySpace, Facebook and Bebo, allow users to create a profile. Users can upload a picture of themselves (or anything for that matter!), talk about themselves, their interests and hobbies and can now even add videos and music. To be friends on one of these sites merely means that users are listed on each others profiles under friends. In most social networking services, both users must confirm that they are friends before they are linked. For example, if Jane adds Bob as a friend, then Bob would have to approve Jane's friend request before they appear in each others friends list. There are a number of different ways to communicate with friends on these sites. • Comments These will appear on the recipient’s profile, unless comments are hidden. • Messages These will only be visible to the recipient. They do not appear anywhere on the profile. • Bulletins These appear to everyone in your friends list, and are displayed on the home page, not the profile. This is an example of a MySpace home page. This is what you see when you sign in. This is an example of a MySpace profile. This is what others will see. What are the risks? Social networking sites by their very nature require a certain amount of personal information to be given. When deciding how much personal information to give out users may not exercise the same amount of caution as they would when meeting someone in person. Social networks have privacy controls that allow the user to choose who can view their profile or contact them. For example, if the user sets their profile to private, only their approved friends can view their profile. Most social networking sites monitor the content of an individual’s profile to ensure that only appropriate content is displayed, particularly with pictures and photos. Profiles can be reported if any inappropriate content is found and there is normally a link on every profile that allows you to flag it up to the owners of the website if you disapprove. How can I protect my child? Social networking can be fun and educational provided your children are careful about what personal details they reveal online. Tell them not to believe everything they read as sometimes people can lie about their identity. Advise them never to meet anyone they have only chatted to online without a trusted adult being present. Warning them against meeting strangers may not be enough as they may not consider the person they’ve been chatting to online a stranger. Get to grips with the technology they are using so you can talk about the internet together. And remember that the internet is now widely available on mobile phones as well as in the home. Instant Messengers Another very popular feature of most children’s online activities is instant messengers and most commonly MSN Messenger. This is a program that allows users to chat to others online but is much safer than a chat room. To be able to talk to someone, you need their email address, so in effect, you need to know the person already and you need to accept before someone becomes a contact. Users can show a display picture, which the other person in the conversation will also be able to see. There are a range of pictures already loaded on the program but any picture can be used. In conversations, you can also send songs and files to the other person but you need to accept them first. Make sure your children only accept files which they understand, as sometimes, viruses can take over other computers and send themselves through MSN to different computers. Contacts on MSN can also be blocked. The person that has been blocked can no longer have conversations with the contact that has blocked them. All instant messengers are password protected which makes it very difficult for people to hack others accounts. There are also variations of this such as Yahoo Messenger and AIM, which are almost identical. If your children have an instant messenger, you have probably noticed that they talk in a language that doesn’t seem to be English! It is known as text-speak and it basically just abbreviates words to save time when typing. There are hundreds of different abbreviations but here is a short list of the most popular. lol - laugh out loud brb - be rightback rofl - rolling on floor laughing gd - good wubu2? - what’ve you been up to? nm - not much atm - at the moment tbh - to be honest ppl - people gr8 - great btw - by the way u k? - you ok? Other Block person’s contact display name Conversation Message is entered here Online Games Online games can be either arcade or action games such as Tetris or Pac-man, or virtual life games where each user has their own character that lives in a virtual world. The virtual life games are the games where online chatting is most common. There are hundreds of these on the internet, for example Club Penguin and Habbo Hotel. Club Penguin Club Penguin is an online game developed by New Horizon Interactive and is now owned by Disney. The game was designed for children of ages six to fourteen but anyone can play or become a member. Club Penguin enables users to play minigames and chat with other users. There are two chat modes for Club Penguin - Ultimate Safe Mode and Open Chat. Ultimate safe mode allows players to select phrases from a list, which means your child will only be asked certain questions and will only be able to reply using these phrases. This means that you do not have to worry about your child disclosing personal information to people they do not know. The second chat mode is Open Chat. Open Chat allows users to enter custom messages, meaning that the user can say whatever they like. However, there are moderators in every area of Club Penguin. These moderators are all over the age of 18 and have all passed a criminal record check. Players using swearing and bad language on Club Penguin are banned for 24 hours and if they continue they are banned indefinitely. The online game can be played for free but many features are not available without subscription. There is also a very similar site, Habbo Hotel, which is mainly aimed at older children. Website Builders One of the most potentially dangerous features of the Internet is website builders. This is due to the Freedom of Content Act, meaning that anyone can display information about anyone or anything. A website builder helps the user to create and design a website, and have become very popular since Piczo was launched in 2004. The main use of a website builder among teenagers and children is to share photos and information amongst friends. Other website builders are 350.com and zyweb.com although there are many more. On most website builders there are guestbooks and shout out boxes where visitors of the website can contact the creator or leave a comment about the site. The user can add photos, text, music, videos, backgrounds and links to a friend’s website. The creators of a website can password protect their website so that only people known to the user and with the user’s password can see what is on the website. Depending on what website builder is being used, the features change but the majority are the same. If you discover your child has a website make sure they know the dangers of putting up pictures of themselves and remind them that unless it is password protected, anyone can see it. How can I keep my child safe when using website builders? • Check which photos they are putting up on their website to make sure they are appropriate. • Keep an eye on comments; these can be deleted if inappropriate. • There have been some cases of hate sites. These are sites that contain spiteful comments and pictures of a person or a group of people. They can be easily deleted by contacting the website builder and asking them to block and delete the site. Website creators disallow anyone younger than 13 from using the website and uses a content review program that checks and reports on the members sites and highlights suspicious pages and underage users. This is not as good at picking up on things as a human but does recognise a lot of underage users. Video Sharing As well as the sites previously mentioned, video sharing is also becoming increasingly popular. This simply means that users can upload videos which others can then view and comment on. The most popular, and probably the most well- known, is YouTube. YouTube YouTube is a video clip sharing website where users can upload their own videos, view other videos and share clips with friends. The site was first created in February 2005 by three ex PayPal employees but was bought by Google Inc. in November 2006. Users can register to YouTube and create their own profile or channel as they are called. This type of profile differs from a social networking profile as a smaller amount of personal details are displayed. The registered users can choose their favourite videos on their channel and also provide links to their own videos. Users must register to YouTube to upload videos but unregistered users are able to watch almost all videos on the site. Videos that could be considered as inappropriate can be flagged and only registered users over the age of 18 can view these. If videos are of a particularly unsuitable nature, the video will be removed. When watching a video on YouTube, the site lists related videos that the user may be interested in. Registered users can also comment on videos and subscribe to certain users videos. Subscribing to users videos means you are alerted when the user uploads new videos. Although video sharing sites have received bad press as being used for pornography and bad material, YouTube strictly prohibits these materials and when clips of this nature are flagged they are immediately removed. Safe Surfing This section gives help and advice on how to protect your child on social networking sites and when they are surfing the web. The most obvious and effective method of protection is to talk to your child about exactly the kind of information they are revealing when they are networking and what this could lead to. This should make your child more vigilant on these sites and make them more likely to tell you if they discover something that concerns them. Not having this communication could lead to secrecy and could result in your child going behind your back, revealing information that you think they should not. However, lecturing your child about these dangers and continually reminding them of the horror stories could lead to a breakdown in communication and could also lead to your child purposefully putting themselves in danger to break the rules. When discussing the internet with your child: • Remind them never to give out the personal details of themselves or others. Personal details could be anything from their full names to credit or debit card details or passwords to websites. • Tell them to report any unwanted or offensive language or messages to the sites or to you. Remind them not to respond to these messages. • For those concerned parents it is possible to block some websites that you may not want to be accessed on your computer. How to block a specific website on Internet Explorer 1. On Internet Explorer, select Tools. 2. Select Internet Options. 3. Click the Content tab. 4. Under Content Advisor select the Enable button. 5. Select the Approved Sites tab. 6. Type in the URL (web address) of the web site you wish to block. 7. Select Never. 8. Select OK. Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4 You must be aware that it is virtually impossible to block all the websites which you may disapprove of, and that even by following these steps, you may realise that you have blocked websites that you actually did not intend to block. However, once the settings are in place you should have peace of mind that a large majority of unsuitable websites cannot be viewed. Step 5 Step 7 Step 6 Step 8 How to limit website searching 1. On Internet Explorer, select Tools. 2. Select Internet Options. 3. Click the Content tab. 4. Under Content Advisor select the Enable button. 5. Change the settings required, such as the categories you want to rate and the amount of blocking. 6. For extra protection, select the General tab and choose a password. 7. Select OK. Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4 Step 5 Step 6 Step 7 How to observe recently viewed web sites In order to see web sites which users of your computer have visited on Internet Explorer, follow these two simple instructions: 1. On Internet Explorer, select the icon History. 2. Look through the history you want to view. Step1 Step1 Step 2 Cyber Bullying Every parent knows what to do when they discover their child is being bullied at school - see their teacher. But what do you do if your child is being bullied on the internet? This might sound a bit unlikely but it is a very common occurrence now. With the ever increasing ways in which young people can access the internet, bullying on the internet is growing. It can be done in various ways: • Hate sites It is becoming increasingly easy for people to create free websites with sites such as Piczo, and so it is easy for a child to create a website solely to make another feel intimidated or threatened. • Threatening emails or instant messages With programs such as MSN being one of the most popular features of the internet, with over 80% of young people having an account, this is a very common method of cyber bullying. • Mobile phones Sending humiliating and abusive text or video messages, as well as photo messages and phone calls over a mobile phone. This includes sending anonymous text messages or pictures and videos over short distances using Bluetooth. discover What should I do if I discover my child is the victim of a cyber bully? It is understandable that many parents may overreact and some even consider ringing the police. Do not contact the police unless you think the content of the bullying is illegal. This would be the same as ringing the police about your child being bullied at school. The police can have very little involvement and have other priorities. Just as discussing these issues with the head teacher or class teacher can put a stop to the bullying at school, resolving cyber bullying can also be straightforward. With one email to the service provider of a social networking website or instant messenger service (usually very easily done through the website itself), you can have the bully blocked from the website and their account deleted. If the bully uses a mobile phone, contact your network provider and they can block texts and phone calls from the bully. Never try and deal with the bully personally. This could backfire and make the situation worse. Talking to your Children about Internet Safety You know your child better than anyone else so it is up to you to decide what features of the internet your child uses at home. However, depending on the age of the child - and their maturity - there are really important safety issues you should discuss with them. There can be two main problems when sitting down to talk about this subject with your children: 1. That you might feel intimidated because your child may know more about the internet and computers than you do - but don't be put off. Your wisdom and experience is very different from your child's knowledge of how a computer or website works! 2. If you simply just tell your children they are forbidden from accessing some websites, without properly discussing why or what the consequences are, or giving alternatives, you can accidentally make these restricted areas even more appealing (remember when you were a child - wanting to do what was not allowed!) It is best therefore to sit down with your children and discuss the issues before there is a problem. As with anything you talk about with your child there is always the possibility that you will get told to shut up and go away! But persevere. This is an important issue! We may have covered these previously, but to summarise, there are 4 main points that you should make clear to your child when discussing internet safety with them: • Keep personal information safe Children and young people must be very careful when creating profiles on social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. Tell your child to withhold as much personal information as they can and set profiles or blogs to private where ever possible. (This allows only people they approve to see their profile). emails • Do not accept files, pictures or open emails from strangers Some of these may contain viruses or links to inappropriate websites, which can damage your computer and your hard drive. As a parent, it is a good idea for you to have an anti-virus software protection system on your computer which scans your computer regularly. This is not only to protect you from receiving viruses but also to stop your computer from passing viruses onto others by mistake. You can also adjust the settings on your email inbox to filter out SPAM (junk mail) as well as individual senders. • Tell an adult if someone or something online makes them feel uncomfortable. It can be really upsetting for children to view something online which they didn't expect to see or have come across accidentally. Similarly, it can be really disturbing if they trusted someone they were chatting with and that person says something that is not appropriate. www.thinkuknow.co.uk has been set up so that parents and young people can report abuse on the internet (like a virtual police station). We strongly advise you to use this as they will be able to deal with it properly. • People lie. As obvious as it may sound, anyone can access the internet and there is nothing to stop internet users from lying about their identity. It’s so easy for children and young people to believe them. Make it clear to your child that they should never meet up with people they have met online, in a chatroom or a social networking site, unless a responsible adult is present. Just like individuals can lie online, so can organisations and companies. Just because someone has put something on a website, it doesn't mean it is true. Make sure your child knows to only deal with organisations that are well known and trusted online. Also beware of online scams such as pop-ups offering free iPods or laptops - they are usually running scams, so do not give them any details. Hopefully, now you are a bit more clued up about what exactly your child is doing on the internet and how to keep them safe. Of course, there will always be developments on the internet with new websites and services being invented all the time. As long as you make the effort to keep up with these developments and keep communication open with your child, using the internet will be a positive and secure experience for all.